Since we celebrate Valentine’s Day today, I took some time to look through photos curated as “love” from my favorite photo source at unsplash.com. The photo above shows children walking together with their parents leading in the distance. The powerful legacy that I hope Zoë and I can leave our children: follow the narrow path dear children! I could write a post completely on that imagery, but I’ll leave that to your imagination! There are loads of photos of young couples getting married, of small baby feet, new families just getting started, but for me, perhaps because of my age, I think about a time when things have settled down, when I’m on the front porch swing with my wife, old and content. One of the photos includes an elderly couple, head to head, smiling authentically. Such joy is in their eyes. One day, many years from now, I look forward to being that elderly man loving his elderly wife. How about you?
John’s epistles, part of the pastoral letters toward the end of the Bible, First, Second and Third John, are a quick read, but full of the assurance that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are love and as such, we should love one another. Meeting on Sunday is great, but more than that, we should really enjoy being together. Stocked with wisdom in few words, I love the way he ends the second and third letters: “I hope to come to you and talk face to face so that our joy may be complete” (2 John 12) and “I hope to see you soon, and we will be face to face” (3 John 14). We are called to be a people of love and action, not just words and letters and emails and texts — we should find joy in being together!
John reminds us over and over in these few pages:
Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in action and in truth. 1 John 3:18
1 John is a short letter written to those who might be a bit confused about what love truly is so John makes it clear:
God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. In this, love is made complete with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because as he is, so also are we in this world. 1 John 4:16-17
John lets us know without doubt,
I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 1 John 5:13
There are some warnings about those who are against God, who do not profess Christ as the risen savior, but most of this text speaks to me about the fellowship we enjoy as part of this thing we call church. In this day and age, especially in this country, the masses may confuse church with a physical location, but as Pastor Mark Gasque pointed out several years ago when he was planting Hope Fellowship, a growing congregation,
“The church, in my understanding of scripture, has very little to do with the building and more to do with people” Pastor Mark Gasque, Hope Fellowship Church, April 7, 2007
The notion of biblical love, of being part of a community that is united in Christ is something to get excited about!
My prayer is today we stop and take a moment to ponder the depth and width of God’s love for us. I hope we can take hold of that love and pour into others as He poured into us.
Forget what this world teaches about love, look to the Bible and learn to love as Jesus loved. Be willing to take risks, to give it all and enjoy the sensational love that God lavishes on us through Jesus Christ!